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Cross-Check: Hot or not?

Old 02-18-05, 10:49 AM
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Cross-Check: Hot or not?

Allow me to ask a trivial question here, thanks. What's the deal with the popularity of the Surly Cross-Check. Seems like every other thread in this forum talks about it. They pop up really often in threads in other forums and on other bicycling sites. They're all over eBay.

Why? Are they that good a bike? How come other cross bikes aren't making such a ruckus? Is this the new iPod?

Just curious to see what some opinions are here.
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Old 02-18-05, 12:56 PM
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I suspect that most riders who rave about their CrossChecks most likely ordered the frame and built up their own - as opposed to settling for the 'complete' CrossCheck. This allows you to put together a very individual ride for yourself. Of course once you put some miles on it you realize that it is indeed a really nice frame for the price.

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Old 02-18-05, 01:39 PM
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Hot!
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Old 02-18-05, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by DanO220
Of course once you put some miles on it you realize that it is indeed a really nice frame for the price.
Really? I was under the impression that $400 is kind of expensive for a 4130 cro-mo frame. Guess I learn something new everyday.
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Old 02-18-05, 03:32 PM
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Hmm, let's see...4130 Cromoly frame, horizontal dropouts, rack and fender mounts, lots of mud clearance, snazzy-looking fork crown, and crash-worthy...What's not to love?
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Old 02-18-05, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Peek the Geek
Really? I was under the impression that $400 is kind of expensive for a 4130 cro-mo frame. Guess I learn something new everyday.
So you're going against the grain and decided you don't like the Cross-Check. So what?
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Old 02-18-05, 03:53 PM
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You can get the kona explosif for $420. but it's a mtb frame. steel is expensive!
shop ebay!
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Old 02-18-05, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gonesh9
So you're going against the grain and decided you don't like the Cross-Check. So what?
Whoa, sorry. I'm trying to ask a legit question here. I had seen some negative remarks about the Cross-Check that didn't seem to jibe with all the raves here. I've got this annoying habit of listening to a wide variety of opinions before passing judgement on something (or someone). I'll try to be more closed-minded next time.
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Old 02-18-05, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lunacycle
Hmm, let's see...4130 Cromoly frame, horizontal dropouts, rack and fender mounts, lots of mud clearance, snazzy-looking fork crown, and crash-worthy...What's not to love?
Yeah, I'd imagine horizontal dropouts and rack/fender mounts on a cross-style bike would make the Surly great for commuting. Do many people race them?
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Old 02-18-05, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by lala
You can get the kona explosif for $420. but it's a mtb frame. steel is expensive!
shop ebay!
Funny you should say that. One of my saved searches on eBay is a daily check for Explosif frames. In case a deal should ever present itself. Thanks.
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Old 02-18-05, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Peek the Geek
Whoa, sorry. I'm trying to ask a legit question here. I had seen some negative remarks about the Cross-Check that didn't seem to jibe with all the raves here. I've got this annoying habit of listening to a wide variety of opinions before passing judgement on something (or someone). I'll try to be more closed-minded next time.
Sorry, didn't mean to sound so harsh. It just sounded like you've already made up your mind that the Cross Check isn't as good of deal as people are making it out to seem. As for what it is, to me it's a great multi-purpose comfortable ride with lots of options. I know a lot of people who use it as their training or backup rig for cross. It's true that it's going to run a bit heavier than a typical race bike, but other than that I think it fits nicely with a lot of people's needs.
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Old 02-18-05, 05:37 PM
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Main reason there's lots of talk about the Cross-Check is that QBP owns Surly, or Surly
is just QBP. This means they have giant market penetration and are their own middlemen, so the profit is much much higher than for any other kind of independent frame builder. The cross-check is good but is IMHO not as good as other steel cross frames I remember. Most 4130, SLX, 631, and 853 Cross frames are lighter, I think. Remember the Cromo Fuji Cross? Now Al. I rode a friends Cross-Check and my positive comments are, it is durable and pleasantly, mildly retro looking.

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Old 02-18-05, 06:49 PM
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hot or not? depends. the surly is a great all-purpose cyclo-cross-type bike. it's a fine light tourer and commuter. it is most certainly not a hot race bike. it's tough, but quite heavy, and the geometry is a bit slack for tight handling on switchbacks. you almost never see surly's at races.
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Old 02-18-05, 10:07 PM
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I don't race mine. I do ride it though. I selected a cross type bike because I am a clydesdale who wanted a road bike but I ride on rail to trails and such which are hard on the wheels (considering my mass). I could not find many cross bikes available at dealerships. The few dealers who stocked Propads and Fuji Cross had sizes which were inappropriate.
I had the Performance Bike Store in Naperville, IL build my bike for me. Mine is built up for trail riding and light touring. I have a 105 Triple setup and heavily spoked wheels. I had the shop leave the stem relatively tall because I have a bad back and can't lean all the way into an aero position. I also have it setup with a Brooks B17.

My Cross-Check is a great all around bicycle that does what I ask of it.
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Old 02-19-05, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Peek the Geek
I was under the impression that $400 is kind of expensive for a 4130 cro-mo frame.
I looked at Surly once and you're right, that is exactly what held me back. It is a nice versatile frame for DIY custom builders but at the end of the day it remains a rather heavy frame made with ordinary steel. I don't buy into or see the Surly "mystique" but if you're a Surly fan, more power to you, it's just not my thing.

If I was in the market for a cyclocross bike, I think a much better value than a Cross-Check is the Jamis Nova (https://www.jamisbikes.com/bikes/05_nova.html#). For about $1,000 you get a 631 frame with carbon fork, Shimano 105/Tiagra mix triple, cantilever brakes, Mavic wheels and Crank Bros. eggbeater pedals, and rear eyelets. There is no way you can custom build a Cross-Check with all those goodies for under $1,000. The Nova really is a bargain IMHO.
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Old 02-19-05, 01:59 PM
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I think velocipedio has it right, what makes the Cross Check a great bike is that it is very good at a lot of things. The trade off is that it isn't the best cyclocross racer.

Like a lot of people, I use mine for commuting. It can handle Nokian studded 35's tires plus fenders (the specs claim it can handle 45's with fenders), but it also can work with much narrower road tires when the weather is better. I also have a rack and saddlebags on it. Few road bikes could handle the adverse commuter riding conditions (potholes, snow, ice, etc.). No mountain bike has the dropped handlebars and decent gear ratios.

If you want to do serious cyclocross racing, the Surly may not be your first choice. But if you want one, great all-around bike, it's worth taking a look at.

I don't know enough about the Nova to make a complete comparison, but can anyone say what kind of tire clearance does it has? It might have as much as the Surly, but I can't find anything that says one way or another. From what I can tell from the manufacturers' websites, the Nova's fork is part CF, part steel, the Surly's is all steel. Whether that's better or worse, I leave for others. All in all, the Nova looks like a good bike.

As to price, in Fall 2003, I paid $750 for a Cross Check Complete (LBS marked it down from $850 list). The Tiagra parts work just fine for commuting.
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Old 02-20-05, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by velocipedio
hot or not? depends. the surly is a great all-purpose cyclo-cross-type bike. it's a fine light tourer and commuter. it is most certainly not a hot race bike. it's tough, but quite heavy, and the geometry is a bit slack for tight handling on switchbacks. you almost never see surly's at races.
What? Yeah, that's why Canadian national cyclocross champion Wendy Simms chose to race a Surly Cross Check at the cyclocross world championships for the past two years in a row.
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Old 02-20-05, 10:58 PM
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I love my Surly CrossCheck. I had mine retro-fitted with S&S Machine's frame couplers, such that the frame splits apart and packs into a large suitcase for travel. I have mine built up with a Shimano Ultegra triple group and use the Bontrager RaceLite wheels from my road racing bike. This gives a good touring/training bike that weighs just under 20# for the 46cm frame. It's comfy and rides nice. Remember that almost all steel bikes use 4130 Chrome-Moly steel - the difference is in the shaping and the butting. The steel in the Surly is thicker than most steel road racing frames. This gives a highly durable frame that's very stiff, although 1-2 pounds heavier than thinner-walled steel tubing. Compare the cross check to the Gunnar cyclocross bike. The Gunnar is about twice as much, but weighs a little less. I'll take the exta weight and spend the money on other things.
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Old 02-21-05, 04:10 AM
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[...] It can handle Nokian studded 35's tires plus fenders (the specs claim it can handle 45's with fenders), [...]

Hi, I'm quite particular about tire sizes and clearance. Can anyone really certify that actual 45's can be fitted to these frame stays? Any pictures of bottom bracket rear side to see actual clearance would be greatly appreciated.

Surly frames look like a workhorse capable of standing up to the requirements of any good racer.

All the best for everybody and cx'ers en particular.
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Old 02-21-05, 05:38 AM
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VERSATILITY.

because there are very few other frame options to setup a fixed/SS/geared/crosser/commuter/budget racer/grocery getter/townie beer bike/coffee cruiser without going for custom. the surly and a few others like it are the only non custom options to come to mind. buy the frame cheap, set your fixed/SS groove on with some nice parts. ride. replace frame when $$$$ or inclination strikes.

i use mine to commute (with rack and fenders)
i use mine on trails (rack and fenders off in 5 minutes or less)
i use mine to grocery get.

is it nice and bling bling? no. does it work? yeah. hot or not? who cares? it does what surly advertise it as, nothing more or less. it's just a bike. eventually, i'll likely replace mine with an on-one il pompino frame. a little bit lighter, and i like the aesthetics much more. and i'll still have the rack/fender options, plus still be able to run SS/fixed.

did i buy it because it was a Surly? no, i bought it because it was one of very few options at that price point, to give me that versatility. oh yeah, i'm one of those "bought as a frame, built it up" guys.

anyone who has their sense of self worth tied up into what brand of frame they ride has some insecurity issues to deal with.
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Old 02-21-05, 08:39 AM
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read carefully, lunacycle. i didn't say that the cross check could not be raced, but that it was not a hot race bike. i know about ms. simms and her hot pink surly. she's an amazing athlete, but she's the exception and not the rule.
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Old 02-21-05, 09:27 AM
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The rear spacing is 132.5mm, which is right between road and mtb hub spacing. This means you can use either a road (130mm) or a mtb (135mm) hub. Combine that with rack and fender mounts, ample tire/fender clearence (Fatties Fit Fine), and semi horizontal dropouts for a singlespeed/fixed option and you get a jack of all traits, but a master of none.
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Old 02-22-05, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Peek the Geek
Really? I was under the impression that $400 is kind of expensive for a 4130 cro-mo frame. Guess I learn something new everyday.
Have you shopped for a steel frame for $400, let alone cheaper, to build your own with lately? Except for the Soma's there's really nothing else out there except the really inexpensive aluminum frames from the super.com shops. Anyone else selling cyclocross or road frames made from fancier steel are asking two or three times the price.

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Old 02-22-05, 03:46 PM
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I see your point, velocipedi.

My point was that the Surly is raceable, as demonstrated by Ms. Simms. I don't want folks to get the impression that the Cross-Check should be overlooked as a capable cyclocross bike, and regarded merely as a practical commuter vehicle. I have seen a plethora of Cross-Checks at cyclocross races back in Minnesota, especially in the single-speed class, but also in the A, B, and C races. Maybe it's a regional thing -- with Surly based in the Twin Cities and all.
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Old 02-22-05, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by lunacycle
. . . merely as a practical commuter vehicle. . . .
I guess you could say other bikes are merely good racers, not suitable for practical uses like commuting.
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